“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, October 17, 2011

Harman on Anthropocentrism

Extraordinarily I was writing something very similar in my book just this afternoon. Here he is on a post of Scu's:

[T]here’s a more insidious form of human-centric ontology, as found in many version of scientism. On the one hand, scientism insists that human consciousness is nothing special, and should be naturalized just like everything else. On the other hand, it also wants to preserve knowledge as a special kind of relation to the world quite different from the relations that raindrops and lizards have to the world. Another of putting it… for all their gloating over the fact that people are pieces of matter just like everything else, they also want to claim that the very status of that utterance is somehow special. For them, raindrops know nothing and lizards know very little, and some humans are more knowledgeable than others. This is only possible because thought is given a unique ability to negate and transcend immediate experience, which inanimate matter is never allowed to do in such theories, of course. In short, for all its noir claims that the human doesn’t exist, it elevates the structure of human thought to the ontological pinnacle.

Now here's what I wrote:

Phenomenology per se is what begins to bring Kantianism down to Earth, but it's hyperobjects and OOO that really convince me that it's impossible to escape the gravitational field of “sincerity,” “ingenuousness,” being-there. Not because there is a there—we have already let go of that. This is where I must part company with ecophenomenology, which insists on regressing to fantasies of embeddedness. No: we are not in the center of the Universe, but we are not in the VIP box beyond the edge, either. To say the least, this is a profoundly disturbing realization. It is the true content of ecological awareness.

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